Think about It Before You Hit “Reject”

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8Reject Button

So friends, we ask you, we call you by Jesus, to do as we taught you, living to please God even more than you now are. You know what we taught you, by Jesus. God wants you to to be pure, to not have sex, to be pure and honorable by learning to control your lust (unlike the Godless heathen), and especially not to lust for one another. The payback will be from God if you do. We told you about this before. We warned you. God didn’t call us to uncleanness but to purity. Whoever rejects these directions rejects God, not humans, because God’s spirit is in you.

Christians have Paul to thank for being so uptight about sex. You’d think that if Jesus had a direct line to God, and if God was really concerned about people’s complete chastity, Jesus would have mentioned it. But he never does. In fact, Jesus left himself wide open to accusations of being impure, hanging out with “prostitutes and sinners,” the very people Paul would imply are unwelcome, or second-class citizens among the followers of Jesus.

Jesus’ concern was for people to be healthy and whole, and of course, sleeping around is not the healthiest of lifestyles. Sexual addictions, like any other addictions, need to be dealt with in order to live well. Jesus would say, “Go and sin no more.” Jesus would affirm that one ought to try to do better than one is already doing. But Jesus never condemned sex in itself as evil, even a “necessary evil solely for the purpose of procreation,” the way Paul and many subsequent church teachers have.

On this account, Paul is just plain wrong. And his threats of God’s vengeance on those who disagree are the projections of his own hostility. One might just as easily retort (and Jesus did say something similar in Luke 10:16), “Whoever rejects the unclean followers of Jesus rejects not them, but the Jesus who welcomed them.”

Think about it next time you’re thinking about someone. Before you hit the reject button.